It embarrasses me to post these photos, it really does. Here's the original pi sock, as photographed last year.
And here it is with its mate, as finished earlier this week.
I have NO idea what happened. Same yarn, same needles, same knitter . . . and yet. One thing that did occur to me is that the yarn stretched when I left it wound in balls for a year. This is certainly possible, especially since I hand-wind my yarn, rather tightly. I'm not sure, though. You'd think I'd get to be a tighter knitter as I knit more and gain more experience, but apparently not.
What I'm going to try to take away from this is that it was an incredibly valuable lesson in a lot of ways. I knit a lot in college, but more or less stopped when I went to grad school. I only picked it up again spring of last year at the encouragement of my then-boyfriend. And then . . . then I was obsessed. All of a sudden I was knitting all the time, reading knit blogs, and getting more ambitious by the second. But I still had a long way to go, and these socks demonstrate that. When I first got the idea to knit pi socks, I wouldn't have dreamed of doing a little swatching and writing my own pattern from scratch. I adapted someone else's. It was awful--the pattern didn't suit the concept, the yarn, or the way I knit, and the results were disastrous. Now I would just make my own pattern. (Which I would then proceed not to follow, but that's neither here nor there.)
The other thing was the yarn. I just pulled what I had from the stash without really thinking through what the pattern demanded or the qualities of the yarn I had (in this case, a cotton blend). Nowadays, I'd try to marry the yarn to the pattern.
Finally, I knew when I finished the first sock that nothing worked. But, stubborn me, I didn't frog it and dispose of it then and there. The stubbornness remains a constant, but now I wouldn't have gotten past the cuff on that first sock. I'm much more flexible and imaginative now . . . I only hope I'll continue to grow as I keep on knitting.
And in the meantime, these socks are pretty comfy.